Is bootleg vodka putting your life in danger?
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In this tight economic climate it might seem like a good money saving tip to buy a fake brand of alcohol - but it could cost you a lot more in the future. Bootleg alcohol is made illegally by unlicensed traders, so there is no regulation or control as to what they put into it. Counterfeit alcohol recently seized in Derby contained seven times the permitted levels of cadmium, which can cause kidney damage, and six times the permitted levels of lead, which can harm the nervous and reproductive systems. Also discovered in Derby was fake Drop Vodka which contained isopropyl alcohol - which is normally used as a cleaning fluid - and acetone, which is nail polish remover. A chemical that is commonly found in bootleg alcohol is Methanol, or wood alcohol, which is used in anti-freeze. Methanol has a very similar odour to drinkable alcohol so is hard to detect, but it can be highly dangerous even when drunk small quantities. Methanol is purple so it is mixed with bleach to make it clear and it is usually found in fake vodka. If drunk, it can leave you blind and with kidney damage and if a large amount is drunk it can even cause death. A consultant at Lincoln County Hospital, Vikas Sodiwala, told the BBC that patients were being admitted to hospital with dizziness, nausea, stomach pains, vomiting and blurred vision after drinking counterfeit alcohol. He said they told him they had bought it at off-licences, drank it at a party, or even bought it from car boot sales.
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